|American Melissa Gregory almost gave up her ice-dancing career when her partner left her to return to school. Russian Denis Petukhov's partner left him after a best finish of third at the Russian Nationals. Now they are a team.|
Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov met on the Internet, decided to team up, fell in love, got married and will skate together for the United States at the Turin Olympics. Their story has captured the imagination of many. So, was it love at first sight?
“There definitely were sparks,” says Melissa. “I don't think at that moment that we were thinking at all about a husband or even a boyfriend or a love interest. We were strictly thinking about our careers because both of us were at a crossroads in our life.
Denis had placed a Partners Wanted ad on the International Skating Union's website. Melissa answered. How long did it take them to fall in love?
“Two weeks,” she said.
“Yeah, two weeks. I loved her from Day One,” joked Denis.
It is a sweet love story. They eventually got married and Denis became an American citizen. He credits the U.S. with his success.
“The United States just gave me all the opportunity to be my best. I don't know how everybody, in Russia or any other country feel about this, but, I think that is what all America is about, [there are] so many immigrants [who] come to the country and that's what makes the country great.
Denis Petukhov and Melissa Gregory team up for their first Olympics when Ice Dancing competition begins in Turin Friday night.